What I Left In Ghana…
Its 2:13pm as I write this from my window seat in Casablanca. The cool air kisses the top of my head from the fans above. It sends a chill through my body as Sza’s “20 Something” whispers in my ear. I sit here feeling full after a week long search for self in Ghana. Though visiting for a wedding, I am taking home with me more than I had arrived with.
Many of you have been asking how my trip was and I plan to tell you all about the adventures, the weddings, food and more! Just not in this post. Imagine going through life feeling as if you don’t belong or can’t relate to groups of people who look like you. For most of my life, I lived under the impression that I was African American — “just” Black. When my friends celebrated their heritage and cultures, I would feel a bit deprived because my family just didn’t have that. “We’re just black. That’s it. We come from the South.” But the older I got, the less accepting I became of their dismissive responses.
One week in Ghana surely wasn’t enough time to pinpoint exactly where I came from, but now, its home. For a short time, I stayed at the home of my sister-friend who was getting married. I’m not sure what I expected, but their hospitality floored me. I was welcomed by the Bride’s father who pulled me in when I reached to shake his hand. “We are family,” he insisted, and had treated me like one of his own daughter’s my entire stay. Again to my surprise, mostly everyone I encountered in the country treated me as if I were one of their own. I paid close attention to as many faces as I could, studying their features in an attempt to match my own. In Ghana I discovered a sea of beautiful black and brown hues in all shapes and sizes that gave me a true sense of belonging.
Though I started this journey alone, it was ended with so many new relationships. A group of the Bride’s friends that I had met once or twice in the past were on the same flight as me and had noticed my outbursts of tears and anxiety. They reassured me that all would be well and opened up the circle and invited me in. Had I not been “brought in” by these ladies ahead of our flight, I’m not sure how things would’ve turned out. This same concept of opening up the circle was mirrored by all of the guests who came from the states — about 50 of us. It was like having a reunion with family that up until that point, I had only heard about. Even now, my heart is warmed as I’m reminiscent of our group and individual interactions.
This sounds a bit cliche, but this was truly a life changing experience! I’ve taken away a better appreciation of family, new and old, near and far. Not only that, but I’ve found a place to call home.
– Maamme Yaa / Yolanda Danae’